Three presentations to give, two essays to write, four exams to cram for, 32 math homework assignments to submit and a nagging pile of clean laundry getting wrinkly in the corner — we all know how finals week feels. The angst. The pressure. The overwhelming feeling of not having enough time or, worse, using your time and feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing.
These are the times when some of us just need a little extra push.
Adderall and other productivity-increasing drugs have been sold and purchased throughout the student body for years, and why not? It is easy money for the dealers. They take what they are already prescribed (or have access to) and flip it for $5 or $10 to their friends in need.
“Kids that have prescriptions sell it pretty cheap,” said Reilly Larkin, a junior communication major. “Most of them do not take it every day, so it is just money in their pockets.”
For the buyers, it is an inexpensive way to get some work done more efficiently. Some students seek help from prescription drugs during stressful times to ensure they can complete their work while others just need the extra boost to focus.
“It is easy to find if you know the right people,” said Alina Besada, a sophomore communication major. “Some people feel like they need it, especially during finals week, but I only used it one time to help me focus while studying for a test. I was able to shift my attention to the one thing I had to finish in that moment. No kid would go and waste money on a drug just for it to not help finish the assignment.”
Some students take unauthorized medications for more than just school assignments. Others take them to help focus at work, to get household chores done or finish errands. There are, however, interesting side effects that come along with taking a drug like Adderall.
If used improperly, Adderall can cause appetite suppression, unhealthy weight loss, irritability, trouble sleeping, feelings of restlessness or potentially dangerous cardiac issues. It can make your thought process faster and more focused, which can result in ranting and a lot of run-on sentences. A lot of people lose sleep taking it, especially if they take it to do homework at night.
Eric Patterson, a professional counselor who works with children, adolescents and adults to help deal with mental health issues, said Adderall can be addictive and dangerous to those who use it.
“Some kids take it so much that eventually they cannot even do homework without it,” Larkin said. “They cannot even get themselves motivated enough for that.”
So, what is the price we are willing to pay for this extra boost? Five dollars for a pill, but what kind of price can you put on productivity?